On Wed 5 April, 2017, Dr. Helen Manchester from Bristol University, presented the Tangible Memories project. Her work suggests new approaches to designing innovative technologies with older adults that decrease aspects of social isolation often experienced in care home settings.
One of the most successful innovations was the rocking chair equipped with aural triggers featuring sounds of the sea or trudging through snow. Such sounds would stimulate advanced dementia patients’ memories, often provoking unprecedented positive responses. In addition, the use of VR headsets created a hub of enthusiasm among the care workers and residents that created a boost in shared community relations.
As we head into an age in which provision for older adults will be foregrounded, Helen suggested possible avenues for research into the social, emotional and imaginative needs of residents, linking these with new technologies, and the ways in which they can facilitate learning and enriched experience in care settings.